The Real Horror Behind Daylight on PS4

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The Real Horror Behind Daylight on PS4

Daylight, 01

Considering today is Halloween, the dev team and I wanted to share with you a story about what inspired Daylight’s location, the fictional Mid Island. It’s an abandoned, desolate place with the façade of any other island in the New England area, but bears deep scars in terms of unspeakable events that took place there and at its most infamous location, the Mid Island Bay Hospital.

While a lot of the environments in our game are a hodgepodge of various haunted locales around the country, there’s one very real, very personal experience I had growing up that truly inspired the feel of Daylight. This is that story…

The town that I grew up in had a Rockwellian main street, a neighborhood drug store that still served phosphates, rows of corn as far as the eye could see, and an abandoned mental facility known as The Sheldon Buildings.

Built in the 1900’s, the Sheldon Buildings were left to rot after accusations of abuse and misappropriated funds shut the place down.

In the late ’90s, the city finally sealed up the underground tunnels beneath the facility, knocked down the brick buildings, and vomited up a few acres worth of McMansions.

Prior to the hospital disappearing into the suburban miasma of Applebees and mid-life crisis martini bars, I got the chance to wander through it.

The Sheldon Buildings were actually a town within a town, with their own theater, power source, fire and police department, indoor, and outdoor pool, clock tower and living quarters. Running underneath the buildings and linking them all together were a series of underground tunnels.

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According to rumor, they were used for everything — benign use like transporting supplies between buildings, to the more sinister: transporting and abusing patients. The grounds were completely encompassed by a tall, brick wall, which seemed to have one official entrance.

Surrounding this wall was a “forest.” I write that in quotes because, while I am sure the forest was probably something to behold at the beginning of the 20th century, by the time I snuck my way in it was nothing more than a small patch of trees within a highly manicured state park.

There was a hole in the hospital’s brick wall that allowed me to get through, and I was not prepared for what I saw. The place was MASSIVE. My courage ran out way before areas to explore did. That said, I did manage to force myself into the indoor pool building, the indoor theater (which was badly burned but still had red velvet curtains hanging within the stage area), the clock tower, the patient dormitory, and one of the medical wings.

The tunnels at the time were accessible, but you couldn’t pay me enough to go in there. Graffiti was sprayed over all of the tunnel entrances with murals that looked like the gaping face and mouth as seen in The Candyman movies. An additional deterrent was the fact that everyone knew Satanists held their rituals down there.

The scariest part of the whole thing was the dormitory which led into a medical wing. There were no ghosts, no dead bodies, no Pyramid Head waiting to jump out at me from a shadowy corner. The scariest part was how everything that had been used on a daily basis when the hospital was in working order had just been left there — as if all the doctors and nurses just up and left everything one day, never to return.

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Patient beds with pillows and linens were strewn about the rooms. Personal files with real names; descriptions of illnesses written in a nurse’s cursive, and pictures of children littered the floor. Some were even still filed away in their steel cabinets.

The absolute worst was in one small room, off to the side of the main dormitory area. Someone had carved “HELL” into the door with a pocketknife. Creaking the door open a sliver and peeking inside, one could see a neatly made bed. Sitting atop the pillow was a plastic baby doll, dirty but still in good condition, its head turned so that it stared at the door as if waiting for its owner to come for it.

It was as if the tidy bed and doll were a type of shrine dedicated to the children that had been kept there. A little girl or boy left behind, just as the doll was, within the confines of a cold and terrifying environment. Poked and prodded until he or she either learned how to pretend to be “normal,” or grew too old, considered too beyond help, and were freed to suffer in a society that had no place or patience for them.

It was that feeling of abandonment; of sadness and loneliness and of the discovery of a mystery that I wanted to try and capture within my writing for Daylight. I want the player to come along with me. Back to when I was a teenager. Back to when I was too young to know better and too old not to be scared. To be my partner in crime as we explore the urban myths , the forgotten people, and the seedy underbelly of a small town.

I bet that doll was still sitting there. Still staring at the door. Still waiting to be found when the bulldozer came.

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61 Comments

  • Nice! Or should I say horrifying?

    I’m terrified of creepy dolls. They’re always watching…

    Any word on when Daylight will be landing on PS4? I love scary games, and this game looks really cool.

  • Am I the only one who wants the Vita to be used like the phone in the game? The PS4/Vita combo has the potential to be an HD Wii U, let’s do this! :)

  • sounds sweet but I only get really excited about new SMT games

    • Hey everyone, so Jessica is travelling at the moment, so I’ll be filling in with answers for now. Anything specific, and I’ll make sure she sees it.

  • I know I’d love it, Binarynova!

    That story was great and terrifying. Growing up in the midwest, there was no shortage of creepy locales to stupidly explore as a youngster before I moved out to the loud, “safe” noise of Los Angeles. Lol.

  • Indie studios have been taking so called AAA developers to school with horror games for a few years now. Looking forward to this.

  • John, does that mean I should get my hopes up? :) Cause I will! Don’t toy with my emotions! :p

    • It’s a bit too early to hop on that hype train, but it’s something that’s come up in ATLUS/Zombie production meetings before. :D

      (ugh, I fail at this. I don’t know how to internet)

  • PS App compatibility also. Please! The game looks awesome by the way.

  • John Hardin

    It’s a bit too early to hop on that hype train, but it’s something that’s come up in ATLUS/Zombie production meetings before. :D

  • Here’s another vote for using the Vita as the “phone” in the game. It would be awesome for the Vita’s display to show the scene, then my husband and I could play in a kind of co-op mode while he’s travelling. (“What’s that noise on the left? Point the phone over there!”)

    Can you talk about 1080p native rendering or 3D support?

    Will the audio assets be HD quality (24-bit/losslessly compressed)? One of the most disappointing things on the PS3 was the poor quality audio assets in amazingly atmospheric games like Dead Space 1 and BioShock.

    Will we be able to pre-order? with a Plus discount?

    Are there any GLBT and/or non-white characters in the game?

    Thanks in advance for answering questions!

    • Consider your vote tallied.

      Re: 1080p, I’m not certain, but we are working to include Real3D support.

      I don’t know about lossless audio, but I have met the specific audio engineer working on the game and can emphatically tell you that it’s incredibly well done. The sound in the game adds an incredible amount of texture to the environments – and we’re no dummies, we know how important quality sound is to creating a great horror atmosphere!

      We’re still working on what the pre-order/Plus situation is going to look like so stay tuned there.

      The only character I know of is the lead (her name is Sarah.) I don’t know specifically if she’s LGBT, that’s more of a Jessica question, since it’s her character. Sarah is Caucasian.

  • Sounds like a fun place. Any idea of when the game may launch on PS4, and how far (percentage) into development you are?

    • Early 2014!

      It’s also hard to pin down a percentage complete on Daylight since it’s a procedurally generated game, but we’re pretty far along in terms of development.

  • Friggin Awesome!!! Thanks Jessica for bringing REAL Survival Horror back to gaming! This made my must buy PS4 list!

  • @JohnHardin, please tell Jessica how happy I am about her career in the game industry. I watched the interview of her and I can understand the obstacles she overcame, especially since she’s a very attractive female in this particular industry. She has grown from “obligatory pretty girl” to a serious, successful professional.

    I have an idea: Jessica Chobot interviewed for the Playstation blogcast? Yo, Sid and Justin and Nick?

  • Wow that’s awesome.. Congrats to Jess! It’d be awesome if she was on the Blogcast :)

  • Looks like a sweet game.

    Are there any estimates on the total amount of hours of gameplay, or at least the amount of time you guys are shooting for to play the game from start to finish?

    • Not sure what the playthrough estimate is going to be, since there’s a lot of procedural elements. I DO know that you’re not going to be able to unravel the full story about the game’s environment/main character in just one playthrough, so there’s incentive to go back and make your way through the game multiple times.

  • What will make this game more scary and creepy is – Take your vita with you and go to PS4 link (hope it supports) lay down to your bed and OMG !!! (Must turn off lights, put your headset and go under the blanket :) )

  • jess works for plastation now? thats cool

    • She’s writing the game for Zombie Studios…an indie developer based out of Seattle. Not working for PlayStation AFAIK.

  • @ lisastunami,

    Can we not make a mountain out of a mole hill every time a woman is involved in a featured blog post?

    We get it, sexism exists. Pretty sure those good looks did more to help than hurt her career.

    @ plaztiksyke

    Can you cool it with the LGBT hard on you have on what seems is like every post you make? Who cares? Its almost cringeworthy how you are on that very issue. I’m all for being inclusive, but to always be asking on each blog post? Give it a rest. Its a game about horror, I’m pretty sure whether someone is gay/straight/etc does not play a factor in this.

  • @ lisastunami,
    Can we not make a mountain out of a mole hill every time a woman is involved in a featured blog post?
    We get it, sexism exists. Pretty sure those good looks did more to help than hurt her career.

    @ plaztiksyke
    Can you cool it with the LGBT questions you have on what seems is like every post you make? Who cares? Its almost cringeworthy how you are on that very issue. I’m all for being inclusive, but to always be asking on each blog post? Give it a rest. Its a game about horror, I’m pretty sure whether someone is gay/straight/etc does not play a factor in this.

  • @ lisastunami,
    Can we not make a mountain out of a mole hill every time a woman is involved in a featured blog post?
    We get it, sexism exists. Pretty sure those good looks did more to help than hurt her career.

    @ plaztiksyke
    Can you cool it with the LGBT hard on you have on what seems is like every post you make? Who cares? Its almost cringeworthy how you are on that very issue. I’m all for being inclusive, but to always be asking on each blog post? Give it a rest. Its a game about horror, I’m pretty sure whether someone is straight or not does not play a factor in this.

  • I’m surprised to see that this game was written by Jessica Chobot. Not that shes bad or anything, i just think of her from back in her IGN days.

  • Do you have any idea of price, and if the game is disc and/or digital?

  • I’ll definitely be picking this game up. My favorite genre is also the rarest. The horror suspense/supernatural. My favorite game series on PS2 was Fatal Frame and I loved both Condemned games on 360. Here’s to hoping Daylight can fill that nitch on my PS4.

  • Will this support gameplay on the Vita via Remote Play?

  • 3D!!! Thank you for supporting 3D. I can’t wait to pick this up!

  • Does this game come with a diaper or an extra pair of underwear?

  • @@ didn’t even know about this one very excited; I miss real survival horror games on consoles. I guess the last one I played was Dead Space 1 and to a lesser extent 2 but 3…..just no comment.

    • This is a quote the team at Daylight told me:

      “We don’t want the player to be constantly walking around and looking for ammo or a weapon. We want them to be SCARED. A lot of survival ‘horror’ games become more about inventory management than actually experiencing scary gameplay, and we wanted to move away from that.”

      GET EXCITED.

  • @ Amnalehu

    Well, there’s plenty of diaper-wearing crybabies around here. If you really want one, just ask around. You’re bound to find some.

    Anyway, this is yet another game I will be looking forward to trying once I inevitably purchase a PS4. Looks unique.

  • Another vote for Vita integration here :)

  • I can’t wait to get all these awesome PS4 games, including daylight. I know I’ll make much use of my PS4 once I buy it in April next year and it will bring me lots of incredible memories as all Playstation products have since the PS1.

  • +1 On the idea of that possible PS4/PS Vita Use-The-Vita-As-The-Phone integration. It sounds like that could make it really immersive, especially when playing in the dark. Can’t wait to play all those great horror games on PS4. Still 2 weeks left… My body is ready.

  • Game looks great! Haven’t played a solid horror game in a while.

  • Wait… Jessica Chobot is a writer on this project? smh

  • Wait, i just noticed Jessica wrote this blog post,

    you go girl!

  • It will be interesting to see if this game can be as scary as the dead space series. PS4 day 1 shipping I’m out

  • “A lot of survival ‘horror’ games become more about inventory management than actually experiencing scary gameplay…”

    There has never been a more true statement… Thanks for keeping hope alive :-)

  • Flashlights to cell phone…well good thing I brought my charger

  • Game looks great…. can’t wait to get it

  • + John Hardin on November 1st, 2013 at 11:47 am said:
    This is a quote the team at Daylight told me:
    “We don’t want the player to be constantly walking around and looking for ammo or a weapon. We want them to be SCARED. A lot of survival ‘horror’ games become more about inventory management than actually experiencing scary gameplay, and we wanted to move away from that.”
    GET EXCITED.

    WELL SAID^

  • + PrimeroIncognito on October 31st, 2013 at 10:03 pm said:

    @ Amnalehu
    Well, there’s plenty of diaper-wearing crybabies around here. If you really want one, just ask around. You’re bound to find some.

    Yup……found one.

  • Sorry, but no idea what to make of this game.

    No gameplay footage, and it does not seem very interesting.

    If I want Horror, we just had a Really Great Sale for it.

  • Also what is not scarier than having a zombie chasing after you when you have no ammo.

    Anyway……..

  • Oh wait……try the news.

  • Wait, what just happened here? First, Ryan Clements and now Jess? Shoot. Good to have ya around Jess!

  • @ Rezolution77

    Yourself? I guess so…

  • Again, I can’t expressed how greatful I am to see legit survival horror make a return, with the upcoming release of “Daylight”, for the PS4. For me, it really has been a void in this genre, since I last played last Fatal Frame 3 on the PS2. And yes, I know the writing for Daylight is in great hands (Jessica Chobot)! :)

  • I usually don’t go for survival-horror games, but perhaps Daylight will be an exception along with Eternal Darkness.

    Early 2014… I wonder if it’ll be out before or after Second Son?

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